Thursday, October 3, 2013

Olympic Freestyler Ian Thorpe Lists Laurel Canyon Cottage

SELLER: Ian Thorpe
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $999,000
SIZE: 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: An unexpected communique from a veteran Tinseltown chronicler directed Your Mama's celebrity real estate attention to a recently listed hillside cottage in L.A.'s rock-n-roll history infused Laurel Canyon listed for $999,000 and billed in digital marketing materials as having been built in 1961 by an unnamed "successful actor" and later "inhabited" by John Lennon who—so the scuttlebutt goes—may have written some of "the world's most beloved songs" whilst in residence. Marketing materials go on to proudly reveal that the tree house-like abode was—is, actuallly—most recently owned by "a celebrated Olympic athlete with multiple golds to his name."

Well, children, Your Mama freely confesses that we don't the least clue who the successful actor was—or is since maybe he's still alive—and we really have no idea if Mister Lennon ever occupied the premises. We do know, as per public property records, the current owner is five-time Olympic gold medal-winning freestyle swimmer Ian Thorpe who picked up the property in May 2006 for $879,000.

In addition to his five Olympic gold medals, the six-foot-five Aussie also has three silver medals and one bronze. He also broke nearly two dozen world records and took home eleven gold, one silver, and one bronze World Championship medals. He was the shit in the swimming pool to be sure. Since officially (but not permanently) hanging up his Speedo in 2006, Mister Thorpe, among many other sponsorship relationships, developed a line of unisex jewelry, launched an eponymous underwear brand, wrote a cook book (Cook For Your Life, 2011) and penned a memoir (This Is Me, 2012).

Current listing information shows the Thorpedo's house, set high on a steep, sylvan hillside in a shady ravine, has 2-3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms in an unspecified amount of square footage that the L.A. County Tax Man puts at a compact 960 square feet, a figure that may or may not be accurate to the true square footage of the house.

The kitchen is, clearly, woefully dated and a bit, uhm, bachelor with its twelve dollar range and the bathroom situation is unpleasant to the point requiring a nerve pill to settle our decorative nerves; Not only can Your Mama not imagine how a person can bathe or shower surrounded by flesh colored tile, it's entirely beyond our comprehension that someone thought it a pursuable notion to convert a Victorian buffet in to a bathroom vanity. The half bathroom isn't much better due to it's silvery, faux-glam tropical pattern wall paper that's a little like putting a disco ball in an ice fishing shanty.

Although the stained glass accents here and there are totally in keeping with the groovy 1960s and '70s authenticity of the original residence, they're simply too hippy-dippy for this property gossip's window aesthetics. Ditto with the shoji screens that slide back and forth over the windows and sliding glass doors in the master bedroom. No thank you, ma'am.

Otherwise, believe it or not, we sort of appreciate the rustic simplicity of the place—the heavily distressed wood floors are of particular interest—and, despite the PETA-unfriendly furnishings, we get a not entirely unwelcome feeling of sexed up comfort from the louche masculinity of the living room day-core that includes a leather sling chair next to the fireplace, a patchwork leather rug, and slightly bulbous caramel colored leather sofa. A full wall of glass peers out on a covered veranda from which there appears to be a limited but charming canyon view.

Boozy types and/or those with vertigo might not care for the bridge and stairs access to the roof and view terraces but Your Mama sees great possibility here. First thing we'd do is replace the horrid lattice wall with something a little less pedestrian—like say, a patchwork fence of reclaimed wood pieces that apes the patchwork of the leather rug in the living room—and screen in that covered section and build in a humble plywood mattress platform to create sleeping porch because—truth be told—Your Mama much prefers to slumber in the open air than in an enclosed room.

Who knows where Mister Thorpe is headed next? Perhaps back to Sydney? Perhaps to greener, or at least less bohemian pastures? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

listing photos: Brock Real Estate


Anonymous said...

Real Estate is a good way to invest your money for your happy future.


Anonymous said...

Ooooh no ... I don't like that at all - too dark and 'woody' ...

Anonymous said...

The 1970s was not the Rabbi's most favored decorative decade. However, unlike Mama, the Rabbi is feeling the ultra-glamorous tropical foil wallcovering, which in the half bath has held up so well. After all, a mirrored disco ball hangs in the Rabbi's study!

Admitedly, the light fixture in the master bedroom may - might - be a decorating wrong waiting to be made right. Nevertheless, in the right hands, and with a light touch, this little 1961 - 70s time capsule could gracefully enter the current era.

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa

lil' gay boy said...

Makes me quite sentimental for our '60s vintage former Poconos summer home -- anyone else remember avocado appliances?

A lighter wood on the ceiling (looks like it's been stained?) and a gabled roof would really open it up -- one can see that a variety of owners have put their stamp on it over the years, and such an accretion would make it amenable to an extensive reno versus a teardown -- it does have an intriguing history that adds a lot of intangible value to it.

Those unfortunate arches must go, much of the wood needs replacing, and the kitchen redone; but the location is delightfully private without being too secluded. And like our dear Rebbe, I too am misty-eyed nostalgic over the powder room.

Olympic swimmer, bachelor, six-foot-five AND size 17 feet?

Mama please, don't bogart the nerve's our anniversary next week!

Anonymous said...

It's a pity he's not exactly attractive.

Don Juan's Wreckless Daughter said...

@LGB - completely agreed... a lighter wood on the ceiling would do wonders. And, yes, those arches have GOT to go.

The asian thing going on in the master bedroom? Pass the eye bleach please. The AC unit some contractor in the 80's affixed into the wall has to go as well... those are for windows... windows in places I would never live or motels you would wake up in after one of those kidney removal nights... anyways, luckily it won't cost too much to erase these past transgressions.

Also, whomever decided that 7 o'clock in the evening was a good time to photograph the place should be spanked and flanked with Mama's wooded spoon. Come on now people... basic shit.

Anonymous said...

omg Mama Lama, I stumbled upon this house the other day (I don't even live on the west coast but love being an online looky-loo), the listing info is horribly written, it made me giggle. But dammit this house it cute. The full bath is a complete gut. He really does need to swap out that slider for french doors in the master, but i disagree fair mama the stain glass and screens are very 70's laurel canyon and it would be a shame to get rid of them. He may have it overpriced, he snapped it up in 06 so we'll see if he can sell it more than he bought it for.

Anonymous said...

I was not aware that L.A. home prices have risen since 2006, the height of the largest real estate bubble in human history. I guess I learn something new every day.

Anonymous said...

Lennon never lived in Laurel Canyon. When he lived in L.A. he lived in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.